The Other Kind of Hypocrisy (a Guest Post for Leslie Vernick)

This post is being simultaneously published at the website of Leslie Vernick.

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I’ve been urged to watch 13 Reasons Why to see the 13 reasons (why) a young friend hates it so much. (Though I’ve read and heard enough about it to understand it, so far I’ve been able to get through only the first episode). The bullying she personally experienced at her Christian school, she said, was pretty much everything that happened in this Netflix series, and more.

One of the most important things she described to me about her school was the dynamic of bullying. Some students there were genuinely nice people, but they lived in such an environment of fear that whenever the main bullies were around, they remained silent or even participated in the bullying if necessary, so they wouldn’t become a target. (You may wonder why no one tried to alert teachers or administrators about this massive problem, but someone did and it wasn’t believed, but that’s beyond the scope of this blog post.)

So while I was pondering the dynamics of a bullying school environment that went stratospherically beyond anything I had experienced in my own high school days of mild bullying, we heard a sermon on Galatians 2.

“Well, what do you know,” says I to myself, “there it is again!”

The story goes that the apostle Peter and the other Jewish Christians were actually welcoming the Gentile Christians and even eating with them (a truly big deal in those days) . . . until the bullies came.

The bullies weren’t swaggering studs or prima donna divas; they were Continue reading “The Other Kind of Hypocrisy (a Guest Post for Leslie Vernick)”

Thoughts for the Hopeless from Isaiah 40

I’ve mentioned before the importance of learning to pray, before reading the Scriptures, to ask the Holy Spirit to enlighten the eyes and open the understanding to receive what He wants to give. This always makes a difference as I read and meditate. Here’s a meditation from the other day.

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Isaiah chapter 40 shows the God of heaven to be truly glorious. From verse 12 to the end of the chapter in verse 31, God is seen high and lifted up. So I rejoiced in that.

But as I read and prayed, my eyes came back to verses 10 and 11.

Behold, the Lord God (Adonai Jehovah) comes with power, and His arm rules for Him. 

That sounds intimidating, and appropriately so, because we’re talking about the God of heaven and Lord over the whole earth, glorious and mighty.

Behold! His reward is with Him, and His recompense is before Him.

That’s interesting. So what is His reward and His recompense?  What reward and recompense will be great enough for a God that holds the waters of the earth in the hollow of His hand and measures the dust of the earth in His scales, who counts the nations as a drop in a bucket and brings the princes of the earth to nothing (as the rest of the chapter describes)? What reward could this infinitely glorious God be referring to?

How arresting it is, then, to see this next verse, verse 11, seeming almost out of place, Continue reading “Thoughts for the Hopeless from Isaiah 40”